Back on the steed

In a move which is either or both stupid or brave, I’m back on a bike.

Back on the bike
A Honda … mumble, ~NZD 40 / month

I got the gyp with being confined to barracks, apart from Grab, and the ankle is feeling comfortable enough to stress it a little. After three days of minor outings, it’s holding up ok.

The biggest worry is the effed-up entrance-way here into the apartment, a narrow ramp with a nice wee drop on either side. Just so it’s interesting for the spectators, it slopes at maybe 30 degrees, so a little speed is needed for the ascent.

Then there’s the narrow door-way, only slightly wider than the ramp, which means that any miscalculation will involve a steel wall.

The buttock-clenching ritual need only happen once a day, but that’s enough, thanks. A small mercy is that a mishap might be less disastrous since the ankle is still plastered and protected.

The first day, I tried to skirt around it, by walking up the thin band of steps beside the ramp, with throttle / brakes on. That worked well enough when I had two ankles, but not this time. A neighbour took pity on me when I got stuck 90% of the way up, and hove to.

Since that clearly didn’t work, I’m girding the loins and riding the gauntlet daily.

Some recovery porn

Recovery from the  recent bike accident  has been much faster than the previous debacle .

That’s down to two differences. 1) This time, I bathed and cleaned the wound soon after the accident, and 2) last time the bike landed on my left ankle. That was the most serious injury, and the one which had become infected very soon ( several hours ) after the accident.

Another difference may be the quality of the sea-water here in Nha Trang. That is, it’s clean, as opposed to the litter and petro-chemicals awash in the water in Rayong, Thailand.

I was nervous about a dip in the sea with the injuries, but after a couple of days, it seems to be doing the trick. As you see, the injuries have scabbed over nicely, and no sign of infection.

Because I landed heavily on my hip, perhaps the worst of the injuries is a rickety back. Not much to be done with this, except for regular gentle movement, and walking. It’s coming right slowly.

Meanwhile, I’m now riding more like the guy in the photo below.

Mr. Magoo

Someday I’ll Learn

How easy it is in a foreign country for things to come crashing down.

‘Crashing’ because I’ve had a second bike accident. Very suddenly, the cock-a-hoop of the last post became a dead chook.

It means everything has suddenly become twice as difficult, because moving around is uncomfortable.

I landed on my left side, so have some scrapes, the worst on my hip.

Hip injury

After the Thailand accident & following infection, the second thing I did was get to a pharmacy and clean and patch the wounds.

The first thing was dealing with a swarm of yapping Vietnamese who rounded on the fresh meat ( me ) of the accident scene.

Only the taxi driver I collided with spoke a little English, but I didn’t need a translator to clarify that I wouldn’t win this argument.

He’d started a U-turn right in front of me. I came off the bike, which then slid into his car.

I made the mistake of trying to swerve and brake at the same time. The road was wet, and I was going a little too fast for the conditions.

As I slid, there was a marked flash-back to the Thailand accident, to that point where things there suddenly became a truckload more difficult.

The taxi driver demanded $3m VND ( ~= USD $138 ) for repairs, threatening to call the Police. As a foreigner, that was unlikely to go well for me, nevermind the sheer trouble of dealing with a gang of Authorities who spoke little English.

I negotiated him down to $2m VND ( small crack in his left rear side-panel ), and scarpered the scene after convincing him of my address and Serial Number.

It doesn’t end there. Today I’ll fork out $750k VND for what could be a patchwork fix, so at least the lights and indicators on the bike work.

The bigger picture is that recent anxiety about the stability of my situation here has shot up. Part of that is uncertainty about when my school re-opens.

For now, I’m doing what I can to batten down the hatches – optimising sleep, diet, and health generally. One step at a time…

New old bike

I’ve taken a minor gamble and bought an old ‘dunger’ bike.

The very same that I’ve been renting at 1m VND ( ~= USD $46 ) per month.

The logic goes like this – I’m here for 4 more months ( at least ). Cost of renting:4m VND. Cost of purchase : 3.3m VND. Conservative sale price: 2.5m VND.

The downside, of course, is that I have the mechanical aptitude of a … donkey. On the other hand, I’m reliably told that Vietnamese mechanics sprout like weeds. Not only that, they’re as robust ( capable ) and cheap.

I’ve been dealing with the bike shop I bought it from since arriving in Nha Trang. It’s about 2 minutes ride away. The owner is happy to introduce me to her pet mechanic, for if and when he’s needed.

So, no more monthly stress about transport.

I’ll enlist a backup in case the bike claps out when I’m scrambling to get to work. This is Grab, the local equivalent to Uber.

And fingers crossed that the old workhorse continues to take a flogging.